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Flexible parental leave.

The government has announced a new system of statutory parental rights.

This system (to be introduced in 2015) will to allow working parents to choose how best to balance work and childcare between them.

Parents will be able to share the statutory leave and pay that, at the moment, is only available to mothers.

Flexible parental leave will be available to be taken by each parent consecutively, or by both parents at the same time, as long as the combined amount of leave is no more than the amount jointly available to them both.

Similar principles will apply to statutory flexible parental pay, which will be available as an alternative to statutory maternity pay.

Additional paternity leave and additional paternity pay will be abolished, and there will be no extension to the current statutory paternity rights.

Entitlement to unpaid parental leave will be extended from 13 to 18 weeks per child from March 2013, and from 2015 each parent will be able to exercise this right for children up to the age of 18.

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